One of the Edgestar 43 Quart refrigeration units has been powered on for more than 48 hours, and I’m happy to report that 440 amp hours of battery capacity and 600 watts of solar panels seems to be more than enough to keep it running. That’s really no surprise, but it makes me happy nonetheless.
So the other day I went to Trader Joe’s just to have something to put in the fridge, and discovered that this model wasn’t designed to hold a standard carton of eggs.
Van dweller problems. I’m not thrilled about having to buy plastic containers for my eggs—it makes simple living sound too complicated. But I guess that’s the price one pays for luxury homelessnes, er, tiny living.
This morning I decided to break in the mamma jamma inverter by plugging in Mom’s 20-year-old induction cooktop and frying up some eggs. They were pretty darn yummy, and I swear they tasted better just because they were cooked using free electricity (if you call a $4k photovoltaic system free).
Unfortunately, I ran into a little problem. Within a few minutes of powering up the cooktop, the inverter started to complain. Error 1 – low voltage alarm. It was quite puzzling. The inverter claimed to be getting 11.5 volts, but Jef tested the terminals on the inverter and found that it was really getting 12.4 volts, which was confirmed by the battery monitor. Mysterious. One of these $400 metal boxes is lying. Jef has pledged to get to the bottom of it and plans to contact the manufacturer.
In the meantime, I’ve decided to replace all the 1/0 cables in the system with thicker 4/0, which may or may not solve the inverter error. Some might call it overkill, but I call it safety. Jef noticed that the cables connecting the inverter to the batteries were getting hot under the intense load—a sure sign that the cables are too thin for the amount of current passing through it. I’m not looking forward to spending an extra $200 on cables, but it certainly beats losing Gypsy to an electrical fire. Safety first, kids.